Met Opera to start Sun­day per­for­mances in 2019-20

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - ENTERTAINMENT -

NEW YORK » The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Opera will start reg­u­lar Sun­day af­ter­noon per­for­mances for the first time in its cen­tury-plus his­tory dur­ing the 2019-20 sea­son.

As part of its new union agree­ments an­nounced Fri­day, the com­pany also will go dark each Fe­bru­ary be­gin­ning in 2020-21. The Met will open the sec­ond half of each sea­son in March with a new pro­duc­tion, and the sea­son will ex­tend by a month into mid-June.

The Met has had slump­ing ticket sales in re­cent years, hurt by an aging au­di­ence and a shift away from sub­scrip­tions by at­ten­dees for most arts per­for­mances. The Met sold 75 per­cent of ca­pac­ity last sea­son and 67 per­cent of avail­able box of­fice, about the same as in 2016-17.

“We know that Satur­day mati­nees per­form 15-20 per­cent bet­ter at the box of­fice than week­nights and we project Sun­days will do the same,” Met Gen­eral Man­ager Peter Gelb said, an­tic­i­pat­ing rev­enue will in­crease by mil­lions of dol­lars.

As part of three-year con­tracts, the Met has the right to present up to 17 Sun­day mati­nees in 201920 and 27 the fol­low­ing sea­son. Any Sun­day per­for­mance will be fol­lowed by a Mon­day off for both per­for­mances and orches­tra re­hearsals. There also are lim­its on Tues­day morn­ing re­hearsals after Sun­day shows.

Orches­tra play­ers who work more than 13 Sun­days in a sea­son would get over­time, and cho­ris­ters who work over a set num­ber of Sun­day per­for­mances would re­ceive com­pen­satory time off. Sun­day per­for­mances will start no ear­lier than 1 p.m.

The shift to per­for­mances later in the spring also project to in­crease rev­enue. Fe­bru­ary usu­ally has a lower per­cent­age of tick­ets sold be­cause of win­ter weather and a drop in tourism.

Be­cause of the shift, the Amer­i­can Bal­let Theater spring/sum­mer sea­son at the Met will be cut from eight weeks to five.

Gelb said the Met may present out­side per­for­mances dur­ing the first week of the Fe­bru­ary break and that the Met Orches­tra likely will give a con­cert at Carnegie Hall.

The agree­ments with lo­cal 802 of the As­so­ci­ated Mu­si­cians of Greater New York and the Amer­i­can Guild of Mu­si­cal Artists still must be rat­i­fied by the AGMA board of gov­er­nors this month. The deals call for 3 per­cent raises in both 2018-19 and 2019-20, 1 per­cent in the first six months of 2020-21 and 1 per­cent in the sec­ond half of 2020-21. A for­mal two-year ten­ure process for the orches­tra was put in writ­ing and an artis­tic ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee was es­tab­lished.

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